Best Flashlights Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Everybody loves good flashlights. For kids, there’s just something fun and empowering about being able to illuminate and control a darkened world or just a darkened room. These can be like instant courage for anyone who has ever wondered what’s out there in the dark. And let’s be honest your phone light will do in a pinch, but when you really need to see what’s going on, you need to get yourself a better tool. The market is huge so we’ve sifted through what’s out there and offer you our list of favorites.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 19 hrs of research
Comes in 2, 4 and 6 packs
Easy to adjust the light focus
This flash is both water-resistant and skid-proof
10 Best Flashlights
1. Rockbirds RB-7W
Comes in 2, 4 and 6 packs
Easy to adjust the light focus
This flash is both water-resistant and skid-proof
Works better with Li-ion batteries
At the top of the list is Rockbirds with their top tier product. This mini version is the last pack on the list, and also the best.
More Than A Double Pack
Beyond the default two-pack, there is a four-pack and a six-pack available for purchase. That makes it a great item for families or groups that need multiple options.
The outer casing of this one is made from aluminum that will provide a good amount of durability. Meaning when you accidentally drop it you need not worry about pieces snapping off like they do with plastic versions.
Cost and Value
And the most surprising thing about this product is that it is low priced. That is a great value buy for the best on the list.
2. SureFire P2X
Anodized Aluminum Body
Single Focused LED
Back Button for Easy On/Off
Eats up Batteries
A simple, small and very effective little handheld little light that bills itself as being completely indestructible and illuminates with a pretty impressive 600 lumens. And we’ve always been fans of lights with the button on the back because it just makes life that much easier in the dark. While it puts out plenty of light this little light will run for hours.
Focused LED Output
This is single-source light but the casing and the way it’s constructed provide you with a solid focused single beam of light that’s going to cast a strong beam on whatever it is you’re trying to find in the dark. That’s the great thing about LED’s when they’re built right, or focused right they can give you an almost laser-like a precision beam.
If you’ve got kids, or you’re outside a lot then you’re flashlight is going to take quite a beating and this light is going to stand up to the worst your kids or the weather are going to throw their way. The casing is aluminum but it’s anodized and brought up to military spec so it’ll take quite a beating.
Cost and Value
A bit pricey but when you get up into the these really bright LED lights then you are, unfortunately going to be paying a premium for these kinds of lights. That’s unfortunate but the good news is that this light is going to give you the quality you’re looking for so if you have to shell out the cash, this light is a good choice.
3. Fenix Flashlights
Anodized Aluminum Body
6 Output Modes
1000 Lumen Setting
Function Button Breaks Easily
Hard on Batteries
This little monster advertises as being able to give you a beam that will shine at up to 1000 lumens. Now that’s a bright light but somehow it happens in this little palm-sized beast. When you need a light this powerful this is going to give you what you need, but not for long. That much light sucks batteries but in a pinch, this is an incredibly powerful light for the money and the size.
Generally, we find that a good one is going to be encased in anodized aluminum and this light is no different. It’s has a type III anodized body that’s going to take a beating and stay shining. It also comes with a handy clip that lets you attach it to a belt or pocket and keep it handy.
6 output modes
From a battery-saving lower lumen setting to a full-on powerful 1000 lumen setting this light lets you easily shift from the low lumen and high battery life to High lumens that unfortunately are going to provide you with only about 30 minutes of battery life. Either way, this is an adaptable light that’s going to do what you need.
Cost and Value
A bit pricey but about mid-range when all is said and done. This is a solid light that’s going to let you choose easily between brightness and battery life. It’s tough, and it fits easily in the palm of your hand. A great product.
4. Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
Long-lasting Battery Life
Sometimes Locks in Emergency Flash Mode
“You think that’s a good find? Now this (brandishes the Anker Ultra), is better!” And it is, with a powerful 1300 lumen guarantee this light is going to turn the darkest, stormiest night into day with the touch of a button. The three Cree LED’s make this a truly a great find that will light up just about anything you can imagine.
Long-Lasting Battery Life
This advertises up to 6 hours of battery life and also boasts a rechargeable battery that will get you back up and running in about 8 hours of recharge time. That seems like a lot, but at least you don’t have to change batteries.
1300 Lumens is about the high end of what you can expect in a handheld. And that is one crazy bright light. If you need more than that, then maybe you’re going to have to upgrade to a handheld that runs off your car battery. But we think that this light is going to give you all the light you’re ever going to need.
Cost and Value
This comes at a great price. Honestly, you’re getting so much light for your money we had to look for some downsides but really couldn’t find many. If you’re looking to maximize lumens and not pay that much this is the light for you.
5. CVLIFE 118-T6
Built-in safety battery
Weighs only 6.88 ounces
The light beam can travel up to 700 feet, which is quite impressive
Included 18650 Battery is hit or miss
CVLIFE is a familiar name for most people, as they’re used to purchasing top products from the company. Buyers can count the XML T6 as another one of those quality products, and one of the best on the list overall.
This is one of the most powerful in a size this small. By using specialized LED’s, this really lives up to the hype when it needs to illuminate an area.
Made with a tough outer exterior, you can be sure that this one will last over the years. As we all know, dropping things happens even when we are extremely careful.
Cost and Value
Sporting a low price, consider this another great value in a long list of products. Even if the battery is a little flaky, it is easy and cheap to replace.
6. Hausbell HB-7W-SDT
Small and rugged
Super bright light
This product comes in 3 different models.
This product is one of the most cost-friendly on our list today.
Fewer modes than some of the others
At first glance, this looks like an average 2 pack with regular modes. After using it for a bit, buyers realize that at the current price it’s a steal.
A Great Light
With 300 Lumens to play with, there is no need to go to a larger product. This little portable monster can handle any related tasks just fine.
Adjusting the Beam
Here is a unit that allows you to choose between three light settings. Letting you choose how bright you want the light to be. Also, there is a feature that lets you adjust the size of the beam as well.
Cost and Value
This is a really low-cost purchase, no matter which model you choose. The value of the buy will depend on if you need any of the modes that are missing from the main bundle.
7. Streamlight 66118
Comes in 6 different colors
Includes two AAA batteries
This product is considered the most portable on the market.
Can be used up to 6.5 hours at a time.
Only 90 lumens
Buyers should consider this one of the more unconventional choices on the list, but one that has earned its spot. The Streamlight 66118 is the only pen-light on the list, and for good reason.
The Most Portable Available
When it comes to portability, this product blows every other out of the water. It is the size of a pen but functions with the full power regular product.
Water-resistance is a helpful little aspect that can preserve the life of the light. It helps reduce the amount of fogging that can appear between the lens and bulb.
Cost and Value
This is one of the highest-priced items on the list, but still low price. The value is great, but keep in mind that the #10 item can be purchased for less and contains four.
8. LuxPower Tactical V1000
Can fit in a regular pocket
Super bright LED
Comes in a pack of 2
Product has 5 operation modes.
Switching modes is a hassle
Count this as another that comes in a pack, only this time the individual quality is a little better. LuxPower earns a spot on the list and really pushes a model that does a few things differently than the competition.
The Tactical V1000 is a shock, water and weather-resistant. It’s the toughest on the list and will handle more than its share of bumps and drops.
This selection gives you a little more bang for your buck in the value department. When purchasing this option, you get two for the price of one basically.
Cost and Value
Any product that is this durable will always have a high value with customers. The price is low, and with it coming in a pack of two, the deal really stands out.
9. YIFENG XML-T6
Can use a single rechargeable Li-ion battery of 3 AAA batteries
Illuminates large areas
Comes with multiple light modes
This is skid-proof and water-resistant
No batteries included
Some of the better parts of owning this are discovered weeks after owning it. The manual that comes with this Yifeng model does little justice to show just how polished of a product it is.
Multiple Light Modes
They didn’t just create useless light modes, and instead loaded it up with modes that customers would actually use. You can choose from the strobe, high, middle, low and SOS.
You can zoom the beam in and out to make the light as big or small as you need. This is perfect for those times when you need a smaller beam that will go a little further when trying to see in the distance.
Cost and Value
Whether you purchase the single pack or the double pack, the price is low. For such a small handheld item, it has a lot of useful light features that work in-home and outside situations.
10. BYB E-0429
An option of different exterior colors
Impact and water-resistant
Comes in high and low strobe modes.
There are more powerful on the list
Sometimes quantity is a great way to win over customers that are having a hard time making a buying decision. This is a great set for users with large homes that want to store their light in multiple locations.
Pack Of Four
You can’t beat the value of four in one package, especially when they are good value. This is a strong selling point for customers that need a one in their car, home, office, and garage.
In the event of an emergency, you want every resource available to you in order to signal for help. With this light, you have an added tool to help you out. Simply turn on the strobe function and the light will signal an SOS for you.
Cost and Value
This is a really good value at a low price, and that isn’t even accounting for the quantity in this one pack. Buyers will get a lot of use out of these for a long time.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The first thing we rated products on was light quality, which was based on a smaller ranking of multiple subset specifications. Lumens, watts and area of the environment the light was able to reach were the determining factors with these criteria. Surprisingly, all that were equipped with compatible batteries passed this test with flying colors.
This has a lot to do with LED as an innovation with light, and it just proves how rock solid the technology is across the board. In order to gain some separation with all of the choices when handling this criterion, we did a side by side comparisons of specifications and paired them with the actual visual data. This was the root of our list or at the very least the starting point.
In this guide we discuss lumens, so you know that you can decide how strong you need your light to be in your circumstances. However, there is another thing to consider with light output, and that is how the light beams are delivered.
Flood light Vs Throw light
Flashlights are capable of delivering a light beam in a widespread “flood” or in a sharp, narrow beam. A majority of lights have a compromise between the two, but this is something to also consider. Do you want a wide span of light or a more precise beam? A thing to note is that if yours does not specify, chances are that it is a compromise between the two.
Floodlight has vast coverage that is great for close-up things such as a dark path, a campsite or the interior of a building.
Throw light is for specialty lighting, such as searching for something that is at a long distance. This can prove difficult for a more common task.
Batteries were up next, as we measured how long they lasted with each product at the highest settings. Power draw with most of the list was above average, with a couple of standouts showing that they remained bright even when the battery was running low. This was the most important battery usage feature to us, as the auto-dim option when on the low battery is more of a pain than it is a helper.
Products that used every ounce of the battery even when it was on its last legs gained significant spots on the list. The only other battery test we ran had to do with how fast the batteries that can be recharged reached full capacity. This only affected a small portion of the list and was insignificant enough that not a lot of spots changed.
The last two things we looked at was related to extras and durability, both very important in the buying process. For extras, kits and packs were given priority over the regular items on the list. That explains why the best product on the list is sold in packs, and it also points to the multiple starter kits on the list.
They were a better value from the start, and all without increasing the already low price for the products that were available without kits or packs. We also considered modes to be part of the extras group, which dropped a considerable amount of choices off of the list as they lacked simple strobe and high/low options.
Durability was based on resistance, as there were a lot of choices that had water, scratch and slip resistance out of the box. The slip resistance was a feature we valued more than water since all of the choices on the list are small/portable in size.
We still didn’t ignore the importance of water resistance with products on the list and adjusted the list accordingly. This also caused the most choices on the list to be dropped off, as they lacked the durability to be considered a valuable buy. All of the remaining products on the top ten are considered to be tough enough to handle drops and bad weather.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you have ever pulled out your flashlight when you have an emergency only to discover that it doesn’t work, you probably understand the need to keep your light well-maintained and in good working order. Keeping your product in good working order also ensures that you get the value you deserve from a product you have paid your hard-earned cash for.
There is always moisture in the air. This makes it inevitable that there will be moisture sometimes on the actual casing or product. If you suspect that there is any moisture, ensure that you dry it at the earliest chance you get. Moisture is not the only thing you need to worry about. As you continue to use it, it accumulates dirt which you also need to clean. Leaving the dirt to accumulate over time makes it difficult to clean the light.
Questions are often asked whether you should store yours with its batteries connected. The answer lies in how often you are planning to use it. If you use it frequently, then it is okay to leave the batteries inside. However, ensure that you test the batteries every time after you use your light.
If you do not use it too often, then you will need to keep the batteries out of the compartment. If you see any signs of corrosion on the battery compartment, then there is a possibility that there is battery leakage. This means that you should change the battery.
Good storage for your product will help you to preserve it and keep it in good working order. Make sure that the case where it is stored is dry and cool. Do not only worry about keeping itself clean because if the case is not properly maintained it will deteriorate over time and will not be able to keep it safe.
Other Factors to Consider
An important thing to consider is where you plan to use it and in which conditions you will use it. These factors matter because you need to be able to carry it comfortably. Hopefully, you have chosen a lightweight one, or are at least planning on it. Consider how it will fit into your lifestyle. Here are some common ways to carry yours that could ultimately sway your decision-making process:
Although this option will call for a smaller sized version, it is a very handy way to carry one. That said, you carry your keys with you all of the time, right? So, the chances that your light will be on your person when you need it, are high. As long as it connects securely to your keys or a loop on your clothing, this option is very handy.
Penlights are small and lightweight options to consider. Again, the small size can be a setback. But, if that is something that you can look past and get away with, then this type is a great option! What is better than something that can fit into your pocket without a problem or pack into any or all of your gear? These are generally longer than a keychain light but are just as easy to carry.
Okay, we do not cover these on this list, but they are still a viable option. If your lifestyle or activity calls for all-hands-on, then keep them freed up by wearing a headlamp. From camping, to cave spelunking to backyard work, headlamps are a great tool.
Generally, any that cannot be carried anywhere other than in your gear pack, toolbox, trunk, etc., is likely to be pretty heavy-duty and large in size. That’s totally fine, especially if that is the kind of light output power that you need. However, it takes a bit more planning on your end with how you will carry it and keep it in easy access when you need it most.
Ease of Use
Just like how you should consider how you will carry them, the type of on/off switch might seem small, but it can be important for you and your lifestyle. You do not want to get into a situation where you need light but you cannot figure out how to turn on the flashlight or you are caught up putzing with it. Here are a few types to consider:
The tail clicks on/off switch is convenient for one-handed use. It allows you to turn on or off quickly. However, this switch type doesn’t always allow you to tail-stand the light and if you bump it just right, could accidentally turn on, perhaps in a time when you do not want it too.
Twist tops are common on keychain lights. These require you to twist the head of the light to turn it on. This style requires two hands, so keep that in mind. The two-hands needed to turn it on keeps the risk of accidental activation very low, though.
This option may be the best one, simply because it is a quick, one-click option that also is at low risk of accidentally activating. Generally, this style is found in either a push-button or a slide switch while you carry it in a thumb-forward position.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What Are Lumens?
Simply put, high lumens usually means a brighter product. Some judge by watts, but the easier way to go about it is to look at the lumens if you want to judge its brightness. Now, where it gets complicated is by not factoring in watts when looking at lumens. Watts measure energy use while lumens measure light output.
So technically a high lumen with low watts won’t really be as bright as you expect it to be. Finding a balance between the two will really help determine the real brightness, and it will also keep you from being surprised after a purchase.
q: Is Smaller Better?
There is nothing wrong with heavy-duty products, yet consumers shouldn’t ignore the advances in the technology of their smaller variants. When comparing the cost between the two, the value of the smaller ones will always win out. They are all low priced, and most of all they are used in emergency situations just as much as casual situations.
Major features that were exclusive to bigger ones have now been done better by the smaller versions, with a lot of companies adding their own special touches where necessary. The other pro of the smaller versions is better battery cost and usage, in both short and long-term ownership.
q: How Does A Low Battery Affect The Quality?
A low battery can cause low brightness levels even when you have it set to maximum. This is a big deal for a lot of people since every product has its own mechanism that kicks in this low power mode. On some cheaper batteries, the brightness will be affected even when there is adequate charge in the battery.
Sticking to recommended one use brands can combat this issue, but it will also depend heavily on the model. A bad model might not be able to fully utilize a good battery. So even a high lumen product can be a bit dim if the internal mechanisms are cheap and not capable of steady power draw from the battery.
q: What’s So Great About LED?
The many benefits of LED technology start with their cost-efficiency. That is why LED products are cheaper than regular bulbs in price, yet have a higher quality light. They are also lightweight and last longer than a regular bulb, with evolving technology that keeps improving every year. So technically, the price of LED items will stay the same or continue to drop while the technology thrives each year.
Their small form factor also makes them ideal to carry in your pocket, glove box or any other storable area without adding extra bulk. All of the qualities needed for a powerful light are available when you move forward with LED technology.
q: Are Ratings Important?
No, and that is due to there being no widespread industry standard. So if a brand labels their product as being the brightest available based on anything other than lumens+watts, then it is nothing more than marketing. Brands often overstate their brightness ratings to attract new customers while pairing them with unrelated infatuated numbers.
Advanced users even go beyond lumens+watts and use Calibrated Integration Sphere to get the most accurate rating of brightness. Customers can use either one of these methods to get a good understand of what it can do. But remember, the same LED technology is available to every single brand in the industry. No one company has a special LED that outclasses another company’s.
q: Should You Only Purchase Options That Can Be Recharged?
Some can eat away at even good brand name batteries, so having these options ready can be a lifesaver. Not all companies include this type of battery, so make sure to check what’s included before purchasing. Specialized batteries are easy to find, and will usually be CR123 or 18650.
There are others that come shipped with the package, but their quality will vary. These batteries lose their power over time, yet they still are a better option since they keep you from having to buy brand new batteries. And if you go through regular one-time batteries a lot, having these batteries can save you a lot of money per year.
q: Are Kits Worth It?
Starting kits are an increasingly enticing value even to owners. They usually include a carrying case and extra batteries. There is a lot of cost savings upfront for this type of package, and there is also a lot of value in it for customers that travel a lot. The case keeps everything related to the product in one place until it’s ready for use. And the best part about these kits is that they aren’t that much more expensive than just buying by itself.
q: Is There A Benefit To Buying A Pack?
Yes, and not only for families or camping groups. Having these strategically around the house is a great way to get through a power outage or heavy storm. It’s also a safer option than keeping candles and matches handy while allowing for much more freedom of movement in and outside of the house.
With that being said, there are a lot of groups that purchase it for camping trips rather than buying single units for each member. Just like starter kits, the price isn’t that much different from the base product and well worth investing in. With a lot of companies expanding the amount they pack together, the value of a pack continues to grow.
q: Is It Safe To Mix Batteries?
Mixing battery brands is never a good idea, and can even cause major injury. In a worst-case scenario, mixed batteries can explode due to their differences. And even when it isn’t that drastic, there are a lot of small issues that could creep up and make it not worth your while.
Mixed batteries aren’t fully utilized to their fullest potential in any product, that means the light will be dimmer than what it should be. Getting the correct setup with your batteries is vital to getting the most potential out of your product, so try to stay away from mixing batteries.
q: How Does An LED Compare To A Phone’s Software Version?
It can be tempting to use the LED version built into new age smartphones since they are so handy. Brands have even begun to assign a quick button feature for smartphones. But where handhelds win is with their modes like a strobe, SOS, and the ability to change the brightness.
Smartphones have one set brightness, and even with their larger batteries are prone to burning through them faster than regular products. Buyers also run the risk of damaging their LED flash on their smartphones if they leave it on too long, a risk that isn’t there when you use a handheld one.